Thinking Outside of the Box

Over the years of working at EXAIR, I have spoken to thousands of customers. The applications we discuss can run the full range that is showcased in the Solutions section of our website. It is always fun to approach applications when we have to think outside of the box for a solution. Throughout the Application Engineering department, our level of experience here combined with the customer’s knowledge of their setup, sometimes results in a solution that is not straightforward. Sometimes, we have to think outside of the box.

What kind of application may we have encountered where the obvious solution wasn’t the one that worked? One of the best applications that came to mind for me is when a customer was attempting to lift/pick up a very porous piece of filter media like the pre-filter from a Heavy Duty HEPA Vac. This material is extremely lightweight and porous. When hearing from a customer, I want to pick this material up, my mind quickly goes to the E-Vac Vacuum generators which are used to generate vacuum to operate suction cups.

In-Line E Vac picking up a block of cut extrusion.

With this material however, the vacuum flow needed is quite extensive and there is another product which is going to be a more efficient use of compressed air. That product, the Super Air Amplifier. As you can see in the photo below, a 2″ Super Air Amplifier easily lifts the porous material and because the suction side is a nominal hose size a hose can easily be attached if needed. The image shows a single amplifier lifting a larger sheet from a bench, these could be organized in an array like suction cups to pick materials up.

Model 120022 – 2″ Super Air Amplifier picking up a porous pre-filter material.

The moral of the story is to keep an open mind for solutions, while one path will always work other paths may become a more efficient manner. These solutions don’t always fit inside a box nice and neat. The Super Air Amplifier fit this because the amount of air entrained is tremendous and can easily be utilized to pull low vacuum force/high flow applications. This is very similar to fume evacuation which would be a “normal” application for the Super Air Amplifier.

If you want to discuss any point of use compressed air application with us, contact an Application Engineer and let us help you determine the solution your job needs.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

We Lift Things Up and Put Them Down (Part 2): EXAIR’s E-Vac Vacuum Generators

A few months ago, I wrote here on the EXAIR Blog about my wife and I competing in our very first powerlifting competition. It’s a long and tiring process training for months for one single day, but to see all of your hard work payoff on the platform come competition day makes it all worth it. After competing on Saturday, we were both back in the gym the following Monday morning getting ready for the next one. Memorial Day weekend we participated in the Rivercity Barbell MAYhem meet in Northern Kentucky, another trophy for my wife, and another 2nd place medal for me. I’m beginning to see a trend here…. The entire day didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but I was pleased with a strong finish: a 500lb deadlift on my 3rd attempt to end the day. Exactly what I had in mind on the drive home in early January after our first meet.

After a full, long day of lifting stuff up and putting it back down, I was definitely ready to hit the bed right upon getting home. I could’ve saved myself quite a bit of energy and exhaustion by using one of EXAIR’s E-Vac Vacuum Generators. Although I’m fairly certain that would end in a quick disqualification…  

EXAIR’s E-Vacs are designed to take the difficult part out of lifting, placing, clamping, and mounting across a wide variety of parts and materials. EXAIR offers two primary styles of E-Vacs to serve your needs: In-Line E-Vacs & our Adjustable E-Vacs

The In-Line E-Vacs are a single stage, cylindrical units that are compact and easy to mount right at the point of use. They can be held in place by threading directly onto a compressed air line, or by the use of a mounting clip. We offer styles for use with porous materials, such as paper or cardboard, with vacuum levels up to 21” Hg and vacuum flows up to 18.5 SCFM. For non-porous materials, such as glass, we offer units with vacuum levels up to 27” Hg and with vacuum flows up to 15.8 SCFM.

Adjustable E-Vac

For applications that may have varying weights and sizes, we offer a line of Adjustable E-Vacs as well. With the simple loosening of a locknut and turning the exhaust, you can increase and decrease both the level of vacuum and the vacuum flow. This style is also an excellent choice for applications where large particulate may be present and can pass through the vacuum. We offer (4) different models with adjustable vacuum up to 25” Hg and vacuum flows up to 81 SCFM.

No matter what it is you’re trying to pick up, EXAIR has an E-Vac suited to the task. For help in sizing the appropriate vacuum generator for your application, feel free to give us a call. Hopefully by then I’ve figured out how to win one of these competitions, and I’m sure I’ll have a trophy case full of ‘em for my wife.

Tyler Daniel

Application Engineer

E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com

Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Additional Benefits To The Adjustable E-Vac Vacuum Generators

The EXAIR Adjustable E-Vacs are available in 4 different sizes to fit whatever your pick and place, vacuum holding, degassing, or vacuum evacuation process may call for. These units have been used in a multitude of applications and the Adjustable factor makes them versatile enough to fit a production line with changing needs.

These are all examples of how an E-Vac pick-and-place system is just a solenoid valve away from automation.

The Adjustable E-Vacs have a few benefits that may go unnoticed if one is not keen to exactly how they are constructed and function. This sets them apart from many vacuum generators. When dealing with vacuum generator applications such as pick and place, having a part that is always the same is easiest. This is not always the case. Sometimes it is not just the dimensions of the part that changes, sometimes the material changes or even the surface finish of the part. This is where the ability to change from a porous to non-porous vacuum generator is extremely helpful. Generally this means the material of the parts getting picked up will allow air flow through them (paper, cardboard, wood) or not (plastic, glass). A porous vacuum generator will pull more flow through the part material to hold the vacuum, a non-porous vacuum generator will pull less flow and achieve higher vacuum levels.

To better understand the difference between porous and non-porous, we’ve written about that. Check out Tyler Daniel’s blog on the difference between the two here. The beauty of the Adjustable E-Vac is that it can easily convert from porous to non-porous with a simple adjustment. This is a great feature for a job shop that may change materials they are cutting or engraving on their machines and need to adapt in a moments notice for the job at hand. This could also reduce the number of vacuum generator variances a store room may need to keep on hand for a series of production lines and help to reduce the chance an incorrect model is installed on a machine due to fewer variants.

Adjustable E-Vac

Another benefit which can be helpful in a production environment that has an E-Vac picking up dirty or debris ridden material is that the Adjustable E-Vacs can be disassembled and cleaned. Picking steel sheets off a laser cutter in order to remove the scrap that has a volume of spatter / dust can cause an accumulation of debris on the internals of any vacuum generator. By unscrewing the plug from the body the Adjustable E-Vac can be easily cleaned and all passageways maintained at a level to offer continual performance.

No matter what, the adjustability coupled with minimum components and fastener free disassembly of the unit are two great features that can help minimize machine downtime, lower number of parts kept on hand for machines, and ensure optimal performance no matter what the requirement is for the vacuum generator. If you would like to discuss further, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
@EXAIR_BF
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com

Vacuum Generators for Porous or Non-Porous Materials

EXAIR’s E-Vac Vacuum Generators are a simple solution for creating vacuum for a variety of different applications from: pick and place, clamping, chucking, lifting, surface mounting, and vacuum forming. Our In-Line E-Vacs are available in two different styles: porous or non-porous.

The material that you’ll be picking up will dictate which model is most suitable for your application. For porous materials such as paper or cardboard, we offer the low vacuum level, high vacuum flow vacuum generators. With vacuum levels up to 21” Hg and vacuum flows up to 18.5 SCSFM, this style generates more vacuum flow to overcome porosity and leakage. They can also be used to lift or hold delicate materials and prevent any warping, marring, dimpling, or disfiguring of the surface due to excessive vacuum.

Non-porous materials such as glass, steel sheet, and plastic are much more rigid and do not allow any of the vacuum flow to pass through the material. For these materials, EXAIR offers high vacuum units with vacuum levels of up to 27” Hg with vacuum flows up to 15.8 SCFM. These vacuum generators offer maximum holding capacity for heavy materials. Sizes are available with compressed air requirements as little as 2.3 SCFM at 80 PSIG and up to 30.8 SCFM for the largest and heaviest materials.

In addition to the vacuum generators themselves, EXAIR offers a variety of different accessories to help you build a complete system. To minimize the sound level and ensure you’re adhering to OSHA 1910.95, we have Standard Mufflers as well a Straight Through Mufflers. The Straight Through Mufflers offer the best level of sound reduction, up to 26 dBA!!

With no moving parts to wear out, EXAIR’s E-Vacs are virtually maintenance free when supplied with clean, dry compressed air. To maintain proper operation of your E-Vac, installation of an Automatic Drain Filter will remove any particulate and moisture from the air supply. In addition, oil removal filters are also available if your compressed air supply contains any oil as is common in many compressed air systems.

For pick and place or lifting applications, vacuum cups will be necessary. With a wide variety of different vacuum cups available: Small Round, Large Round, Oval, and Bellows, we can accommodate nearly any size or shape material. For heavier materials, round cups with cleats provide rigidity and ensure that the load remains stable. For applications on textured or uneven surfaces, Bellows style cups have convolutions that allow for the cup to quickly decompress when it touches the surface of an uneven part or material.

With all of the different options making a selection can seem like a daunting task. If you’re struggling to determine the most suitable E-Vac and Accessories for your application, give an Application Engineer a call today!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@Exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD